Back To Top
Beach Grit

banner

Yemen: Only the good die young!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Chapter 2: A history of dubious veracity.

(I am writing a series about Yemen because what is currently happening there is terrible beyond. My inaction disgusts me and so I am going to introduce you to to the country because… the place, people, culture all deserve to be saved. We’ll get into the meat so soon but first very brief historical jaunt. If history ain’t your jam though skip it!)

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Yemen has a history as deep as and substantial as almost anywhere on earth but seeing this is a surf gossip n scandal website let’s just enter during the 11th century B.C. when the Sabaeans, a clan covering the territory of modern day Sana’a and Marib, consolidated power and became like Da Hui of old. If you are a Christian, Jew or Muslim you’ll certainly have heard of the Queen of Sheba (Saba). According to the Bible (1 Kings 10), she traveled from Yemen to Jerusalem to test King Solomon, was overwhelmed by his fabulousness and gave him lots of gold and spices.

The account is challenged by modern archeology but modern archeologists are total killjoys.

Marib, in particular, has fantastic Sabaean ruins and a violently proud population who, before the current Ugly War, were famous for kidnapping Yemeni troops and ransoming them back to the government. I’ve been in two perfectly tense social bombs in Marib, one of which is mentioned in the PEN award nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell. (Motorcycles and the stench of panic and bang bang death.)

The region is also mentioned in the Qur’an and even though that book was never nominated for a PEN award, Mohammed specifically praises Yemenis (likely those living in Marib) for their true belief. The various tribes around Marib, Sana’a and even into the Hadramawt did accept Islam rocket fast, while Mohammed was still alive, and the various tribal rulers built great mosques etc. in their growing towns.

Later the true believers split down what we call Sunni/Shia fault lines with 55% of the country Team Sunni and 45% Team Shia and 5% Team Angie and a surprising 33% Team Brad. The Houthi rebels, in the north of the country and the ones that Saudi Arabia is ostensibly trying to rout, are Zaidi (Shia). The Saudis are Sunni. The Saudis are also Team Angie.

Bastards.

The middle ages saw Yemen pass through a grab bag of dynasties. The Ottoman Empire snatched what they could in the 1500s in order to preserve trade routes to India and pilgrimage routes up to Mecca and Medina. They were semi-benevolent, if not corpulent, rulers for a few hundred years with the Yemeni tribes constantly poking, prodding, kidnapping and killing.

The British decided they wanted the southern port of Aden in 1839 and bombed its ruler away and included it alongside India and Hong Kong in their empire, mollifying the surrounding tribes by telling them they wouldn’t expand outside of Aden as long as no one signed treaties with unpalatable countries like Germany.

Then in the early 1900s an Imam by the name of Yahya hamid ed-Din decided it was time for a “Greater Yemen” and sought to unite the tribes under his leadership. He scratched and clawed much territory from the crumbling Ottomans and almost pulled Aden from the British.

Yahya died in 1962. Arab Nationalism was in full swing and split Yemen between north and south during a six-year civil war. When it was over, the north identified with Egypt and was called the Yemen Arab Republic. The south identified with the Soviet Union and was called The People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

And there they all sat until 1990 when the two were re-unified just in time to accidentally side with Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War and get massively fucked by Saudi Arabia. Tens of thousands of Yemenis were ejected from Saudi Arabia, funds dried up and so did any international anything.

It was the Saudi’s decision to let U.S. military forces into its territory that enraged Osama Bin Laden most. He had just returned from Afghanistan, a famous mujahedeen, who had smashed the Soviet Union under heel with help from my uncle’s Stinger Missiles. And he thought a foreign power had no right bunking in the country that held the two holist sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina. Osama let his rage be known and was banished from the kingdom so he moved to Sudan.

Because so would you if you have ever been to Khartoum.

Enter what later became known as Al-Qaeda. Though not officially a super group yet, a loose collection of likeminded individuals scattered around the middle east began to plot together and carry out various shenanigans together and one autumn day in 2000 bombed the USS Cole in Aden’s harbor together.

The attack left 17 sailors dead and was a massive blow to the notion of untouchability that pervaded the United States after its routing of Saddam Hussein. Following an exhaustive study of the event, the Navy changed protocols for docking and refueling in foreign ports.

The Cole incident received much more attention one short year later when the World Trade Center was brought low. Critics were furious that neither the Clinton nor George W. Bush administrations didn’t bomb the hell out of Yemen as a consequence. They claimed that the lack of military action emboldened Osama Bin Laden to think bigger.

And one even shorter year after that my best friend in the world were looking at Yemen’s coastline.

Dreaming.

Stratify: The surfer’s natural enemy!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Without a foil we will wither on the vine!

Yesterday’s story Rumour: TV Salesman to buy SurfStitch was as enjoyable as it was informative. In case you were too busy to see it featured a very rich, Australian man who thought the failing online surfwear retailer/Stab magazine publisher was worth a flip.

Before we go on, quickly, does it annoy you that when I write a rumor it is a “rumor” and when Derek writes a rumor it is a “rumour?” Should we settle on one and stay consistent or are these little nuances part of BeachGrit’s charm?

But let’s head back to the very rich Australian man. In the picture he looked… like a person who likes computers etc. Our Nik Karol wrote:

This is classic Revenge of the Nerds hey? I hope he fucking hates surfers and snaps up SurfStich so he can show those fuckwits the door. Double the shares from seven cents to 14 then flip it to the Chinese. Poetry.

And it made me chuckle but also wonder who, in today’s social stratification, is the surfer’s natural enemy? I think we are all closer to nerds these days, see Kenny Powers, and don’t think they are necessarily our enemy. But who? It is important to have, I think, for our shared sense of self worth.

So is our enemy:

a) the po po

b) jocks

c) dweebs

d) poor people

e) greasers

f) inner city youth

g) anitfa

h) posers

i) poseurs

j) education

k) other

Watch: A Fresh Slice of Filipe Toledo!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

"There's steaming coming out of you, bro!"

Did I tell you about the time I went on a Mexican holiday with Filipe Toledo? And what a wonderful boy he was – how he cheered sunsets, how he never used his higher ranking in the hierarchy to steal the front seat of the pickup for the long drive to the beach or to claim the biggest bed and so on?

Oh I did?

Well, just as fabulous on that vacay was his filmer Bruno Baroni. He never complained about a damn thing, was always helping, and, at night, was very good at improvised bongo.

Of course we all know what happened at Jeffreys Bay this year. No one even came close to touching Filipe at the classic right. And those two oops? And the way he tagged the thing to the beach, even after he knew it was a ten?

Here, in this eleven-minute cut by Bruno Baroni, we follow Filipe as he tests various boards and, ultimately, rides to glory.

Watch!

 

Rumour: TV Salesman to buy SurfStitch!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Is this stud going to be SurfStitch's new daddy?

If you live in Australia, you’ll know Kogan.com. It’s the classic online discounter. Started out making TVs cheap and undercutting everyone, until it turned into a two hundred mill a year biz.

Lately, it’s got into phone plans, unlimited everything and a ton of data for twenty-five bucks a month.

Its founder, tech wizard Rusland Kogan, who is worth almost half-a-billion dollars, is convinced there’s a domino stack of online retailers about to collapse and he’s going to be there, waiting, to snatch ’em up for pennies.

As he told AAP,

“Over the last decade there has been a lot of online retailers who have done a great job in raising money building a website and then blow all the money on marketing and building a brand. As a result of that, we see a lot of those falling over in the coming year and that creates an opportunity for Kogan.com.”

And, as posited by SBS News,

“Chief financial officer David Shafer said the company was a bargain hunter and would only buy if the business was good value and earnings accretive.

“Surf and sporting goods retailer Surfstitch and homewares and furniture business Temple & Webster are two high-profile and publicly traded loss-making online retailers.”

SurfStitch shares are currently suspended pending various legal travails.

The last time they traded, each share was worth a little under seven cents, down from almost two bucks back in the glory days of late 2015.

SurfStitch’s market cap is around eighteen mill.

Peanuts for Kogan.

Super Rumor: Adam Sandler buys Surfer?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Could it be? Might it be? A little bird says maybe yes!

I’m telling you right here, right now, hand over heart that I’ve never once posted a completely unfounded rumor on BeachGrit. Never. I enjoy satire, The Onion, etc. but once you travel down pure satire road then it is difficult/impossible to ever come back and you need us to be true-ish. Right? You want fact-ish. Yeah?

I think Derek and I both believe this and believe this very much and strive, each and every day, to deliver nothing but the flimsiest truth.

Each and every rumor that travels into my telephone, email box, ear is from either a legitimate source or legitimately backed up.

And this one is from a legitimate source though not at all legitimately backed up.

I’ve rumored a few times now that the crown jewel of surf media, Surfer magazine, was on the block but today and unsolicited I heard who the buyer allegedly was.

Ready?

Purportedly Adam Sandler!

Hollywood’s five year’s ago favorite leading funny man!

Known surfer!

Co-star of Surfer magazine’s current Editor-in-Chief Todd Marinovich’s literary inspiration 50 First Dates!

Can you believe it?

Me?

Sort of.

If you loved to surf, were rich and weren’t known for “taste” and suddenly the crown jewel of surf media came on the market for a low low introductory price why wouldn’t you scoop it up? I would. I would scoop it up if only to print large sized photographs from Surfer’s vault for my Malibu walls. And gift large sized photographs from Surfer’s vault for my friend’s Malibu walls. That alone would justify the ummmm cost.

But again… the more important question is, if this is all true, what would Adam Sandler do with his number one fan Editor-in-Chief Todd Marinovich?

Obviously not fire but what?

Elevate to publisher? To Hugh Hefner status? Make him reprise Rob Schneider’s roll in 50 First Dates for the rest of his tenure? Make him go play quarterback for the new Los Vegas Raiders?

So many questions!

Again, this rumor is so flimsy but there is one whiff of smoke.

And that’s all I’ve ever asked for.